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(Written By: GolfSpy Matt) Can one training aid fix swing faults from the takeaway all the way to the follow through? That’s what "2009's Golf Instructor of the Year" Mike Bender claims about his training aid, The Bender Stik.
Ease of Use/Set Up
Setting up the Bender Stik is quite simple. If you’re outdoors, attach the spike to the bottom of the pole and stick it in the ground. If you’re indoors, attach the pole to the base. Alternately, you can put the Bender Stik in your golf bag, a method that will work indoors or out. Positioning the Bender Stik perfectly for a specific drill can take a few moments, but I never spent more than a minute getting it just right.
Knowing how to set the Bender Stik for specific drills or faults is another matter, but I’ll address that under Effectiveness. As far as set-up, the Bender Stik is easy to use.
The Bender Stik is unquestionably one of the most versatile training aids that I’ve ever reviewed for MyGolfSpy. Here’s a small sampling of the swing flaws that can be addressed with the Bender Stik: flipping, swaying, sliding, losing posture, over-swinging, chicken winging, and I could go on, but you get the picture. It’s hard to think of a swing problem that you can’t fix with the Bender Stik, and, in a world of one-trick-pony training aids, that’s a huge plus.
There’s also no arguing with The Bender Stik: either you hit it or you don’t. This kind of indisputable feedback is key. What good is a training aid if you don’t believe or trust the feedback it’s giving you?
So the Bender Stik is extremely versatile, but can too much versatility be a bad thing? This is my one concern regarding this training aid. Though the Bender Stik does come with a very good DVD, I’m not sure how the beginner would know which of the drills to work on. The one thing I think might be helpful is a chart or booklet that connects ball flight to swing flaws to drills. For example, the chart might say, “If you slice, it is likely that your club travels on an out-to-in swing path. To fix that, try this drill ______.” Even better would be for golfers to take lessons and have the Bender Stik reinforce them during practice, but I know that’s just crazy talk. J
Overall, I think the Bender Stik is a very effective training aid because it is versatile and gives excellent feedback. The only caveat is that you need to know what you want to fix before you set out to use it.
Score: 28/30 EDIT:
Shortly after posting the review, I was contacted by one of the gentlemen at Bender Stik. He informed me that they had recognized the missing "diagnosis" piece, and had shot a 30 minute video with Mike Bender to address that. It is currently on the website and available to those who purchase the Bender Stik. I just got through watching it, and I think that it's very good. I particularly like that he emphasizes the sequential nature of changing the swing (i.e. you can't just jump ahead and fix impact if your set-up is bad).
Since this was my only criticism of the Bender Stik, and it is no longer truly valid, I have updated the review score.
One major plus for the Bender Stik’s longevity is that it can be used indoors and outdoors, so it’s something that you can work with during the winter or when you simply don’t have time to get to the range. Additionally, transporting the Bender Stik is easy because it fits right in your golf bag.
On the downside, the Bender Stik is average in the “fun” department and cannot be used inconspicuously. While I don’t mind having other people watching me on the range, I know that some people will be deterred from using it because others will stare
All in all, because it does provide very effective feedback, the Bender Stik gets a strong grade from me for Longevity.
The Bender Stik can be purchased through the Bender Stik website for $99. Since the price of this training aid is average, the Value grade ends up being a reflection of the Effectiveness and Longevity. Since both those scores were above average, I would rate the Bender Stik to be an above average value.
The Peanut Gallery
The Bender Stik was a definite point of curiosity among everyone who passed by, making this Peanut Gallery a very large one. Overall, The Peanut Gallery was very impressed with The Bender Stik’s versatility. Virtually everyone in The Peanut Gallery added their own, “Oh, you could use it for ______.” There was a split over “Likelihood of Purchase” that was very easy to see: the more casual players were lukewarm about owning a Bender Stik, but the serious players and the ones who take lessons were much more interested.
For any player who is serious about getting more out of their practice sessions, I think the Bender Stik is a good investment because it provides you with indisputable feedback. As stated above, you need to know what flaws you want to fix before you set out to use it, but that’s really the only negative mark against The Bender Stik. Overall, The Bender Stik is a training aid that you will never outgrow and one that can be used to help any golfer.
One (Bender Stik) will be given away to a MGS reader. To enter, simply go to www.BenderStik.com and look at some of the drills you can do with The Bender Stik. Then, come back to this article and let us know what swing flaw you would use the Bender Stik to cure. The winner will be selected on February 29th.